Some minireviews of recent films I have seen:
Good film. Perhaps Freddie Francis’ best. Similar to another Black and White Hammer fiilm Scream of Fear in that it focuses more on drama and tension than outright scares. Moira Redmond puts forth a wonderful performance. Acting that good is a rarity in horror films.
Torture Garden (1967)
Another Francis film. I love these Amicus anthologies. Jack Palance serves up the biggest ham sandwich in the history of horror.
Uncle Silas (1947)
Based on Sheridan Le Fanu’s gothic tale. More mystery thriller than horror but its another good film and very well acted with a very young Jean Simmons.
The Demon (1963)
The film that the Exorcist ripped off. Very low budget but very well done. Its ambigious whether the girl really was possessed or mentally ill. Daliah Lavi is amazing in this. She makes the film what it is. Mesmerizing. Lavi is definitely an unsung goddess of horror.
Kiss of the Vampire (1963)
Good Hammer film, only I’m not sure where they got the idea that a horde of bats can kill vampires.
Yotsuya Kaidan aka Illusion of Blood (1965)
Tatsuya Nakadai stars in this adaptation of the Oiwa story. Decent but definitely doesn’t touch Nakagawa’s masterful Ghost of Yotsuya (1959).
Finally got around to seeing this as I’m a big fan of Nakagawa. Great visuals and well acted but not exactly my cup of tea.
Four Horror Tales- Hidden Floor
Korean horror film with the same tired “girl ghost with long hair” theme. Not very original, nothing really sticks out, but decent enough for what it is.
Curse of the Crying Woman (1963)
My first foray into Mexican classic horror. The makeup job must have been shocking for audiences at the time. Not bad at all.
Black Pit of Dr. M (1959)
I didn’t really like this one as much, but contains good cinematography.
El Vampiro (1957)
I really liked this one. Good story and nice flowing plot. Carmen Montejo does a great job playing the evil aunt. Only a couple of flaws: The Vampires are extremely weak and don’t seem to be physically any stronger than humans, and Ariadna Welter is just about the most uninteresting female lead I have ever seen. Her character is simply there to whine and cry and be rescued.
Dark Night of the Scarecrow
Great TV movie. I really liked the simplicity of this. No blood or gore, just simple horror in the hickiest hick town.
Another Freddie Francis film with Cushing. Decent film with nice set design and a psychological ecge with long stretches of time where this is not dialogue.
Decent movie with the same old “Mother and child trapped in a haunted house” theme. Nothing very original here. Shining is an obvious influence, and so is the Ring films. The actual monster looks pretty awful but I really like the design of that popup book. The kid is very annoying for most of the movie.